How Functional Medicine Can Help You Ditch the Drugs and Manage Pain

Young man stretches beside a road before a run without pain
Medically Reviewed
July 5, 2024

Chronic pain. For many, it’s a relentless companion that can steal your joy and frustrate you. You might be reaching for the nearest pain reliever, but are you truly addressing the root cause?  

At Nava Health, we specialize in a root-cause approach to medicine, the Nava Method, and we see countless clients who’ve been told surgery is their only option.  

But what if there was another way? 

Functional medicine offers a powerful alternative to the traditional “drug and prescription” approach. It delves deeper, seeking the underlying imbalances that contribute to your pain.  

Dr. Doug Lord, Nava Health’s medical director, perfectly summarizes this shift: “Surgery should be the very last resort, not the first line of defense. Addressing the root cause of pain, through functional medicine approaches, can often lead to long-term healing and improved quality of life.” 

This post dives into the toolbox of functional medicine, empowering you with steps to manage your pain naturally and reclaim your well-being. 

Why Functional Medicine? 

Traditional medicine excels at treating acute conditions. But chronic pain often has a more complex story.  

Functional medicine views the body as an interconnected system. It seeks the underlying imbalances that contribute to pain, such as: 

  • Nutrient deficiencies: Lack of essential vitamins and minerals can hinder healing and increase inflammation. 
  • Gut health imbalances: An unhealthy gut microbiome can trigger inflammation throughout the body. 
  • Hidden food sensitivities: Certain foods can trigger inflammatory responses, worsening pain. 
  • Hormonal imbalances: Fluctuations in hormones like estrogen and cortisol can impact pain perception. 

By addressing these imbalances, functional medicine aims to heal the root cause, not just mask the symptoms with medication. 

Functional Medicine’s Pain-Busting Toolkit 

Here are some of the powerful tools functional medicine uses to combat pain: 

  • Addressing Hormone Imbalance: Estrogen has complex interactions with pain sensitivity and pain sensors in the body. When levels are low, it can impact your perception of pain thresholds. 
  • Clinical Nutrition: A personalized dietary plan and counseling addresses nutrient deficiencies, reduces inflammation, and promotes gut health. Think colorful fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. Eliminating inflammatory foods like processed carbohydrates, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats can make a significant difference. 
  • IV Micronutrient Therapy: This delivers high doses of essential vitamins and minerals directly into the bloodstream, optimizing cellular function and reducing inflammation. Imagine a targeted boost to your body’s healing process. 
  • Acupuncture: This ancient practice stimulates specific points on the body, promoting pain relief, relaxation, and improved blood flow. Studies show acupuncture is effective in managing pain from various conditions, including back pain and headaches. 
  • Massage Therapy: Massage releases muscle tension and promotes blood flow, easing pain and stiffness. Consider deep tissue massage for chronic pain or a relaxing Swedish massage for general tension relief. 
  • Equiscope Therapy: This innovative approach utilizes sophisticated biofeedback technology to identify hidden muscular imbalances contributing to pain. Dr. Lord emphasizes exploring such innovative therapies: “Equiscope allows us to identify and correct these imbalances in a non-invasive way, leading to significant pain relief and improved function without resorting to surgery.” 

Taking Charge of Your Healing Journey 

Here are some practical tips to get you started: 

  • Seek a Functional Medicine Practitioner: Find a qualified practitioner who can create a personalized plan based on your specific needs. 
  • Embrace a Whole-Body Approach: Combine dietary changes with other therapies like acupuncture or massage for optimal results. 
  • Be Patient and Consistent: Healing takes time. Commit to your plan and track your progress. 
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how you feel after introducing new foods or therapies. 

Embrace the Power of Healing 

Functional medicine empowers you to take charge of your health and manage pain naturally. By addressing the root cause, you can achieve lasting relief and reclaim your life. Don’t settle for a life dictated by pain. Explore the possibilities of functional medicine and embark on a journey towards a healthier, pain-free you! 

Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet or treatment plan. 

Nour - Nava Health
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Nour Amri is a Licensed Integrative Nutritionist, a Certified Nutrition Specialist, and a Certified Ketogenic Nutrition Specialist. She earned her Master’s degree from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. She also received her certification for mind-body medicine facilitation from Georgetown University School of Medicine. In her approach, Nour applies the principles of Integrative and Functional Nutrition, which emphasize healthy eating personalized to the client’s genetics, environment, lifestyle, and health concerns.